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The man of the year

Guy Verhofstadt
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt

The man of the year
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De man van het jaar
2009


A proven Democrat, protector and fighter for justice and human rights in the World.

Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten in de Wereld.

Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des droits de l'homme dans le Mond.

Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und Menschenrechte in der Welt.

Dokazani demokrat,
 zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u Svijetu.





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Mr. Barak Hossein Obama

Guarantee
peace in the world

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la paix dans le monde

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mieru vo svete

Garancija
mira u svijetu





Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis



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The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter



Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter



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What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter


   

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Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization

Murray Hunter

University Malaysia Perlis

 The groupthink hypothesis provides us with a mode of understanding how groups perceive opportunity, how exploitation decisions are made, how strategy paths are chosen, and what biases and distortions of reality exist. The term groupthink was first used by Irving Janis in 1972 to refer to the phenomena of a group coming to a consensus without critically analyzing all the various issues involved. The striving of the group for unanimity overrides the motivation to objectively appraise alternative courses of action (Janis 1972, P. 9). Janis (1982, P. 175) postulates that when the symptoms of groupthink are evident, decisions are likely to be poor.

Groupthink is a very popular term used in literature carrying with it very negative connotations. The word is usually used to describe decisions and their resulting disasters[1]. Groupthink is a widely studied phenomenon and has been used to explain many historical political decisions and their resulting consequences[2]. This metaphor can lead to a better understanding how groups make their decisions, what information they used and didn’t use, what were their underlying group assumptions and what other influential factors were involved.

The groupthink phenomenon arises where individual inclinations to be critical and independently analyze issues are sacrificed in the interests of maintaining harmony within the group so a state of cohesion can occur. This results in people providing only opinions that they believe fall into the gambit of acceptable thinking. Members sub-consciously want to be part of the group and fear embarrassment, appearing outspoken and stubborn or disruptive to the flow of the group. This is likely to be based on a feeling of low self-efficacy (Baron 2005), and results in a consensus at the cost of rationality, with potentially faulty premises and failure to look at important pieces of information and potential consequences. As any doubts are suppressed, each member of the group believes that the decision made had full support of all the members.

According to the hypothesis, groupthink is most likely to occur when a group is very cohesive, insulated with lack of impartial leadership, lack procedure methodology, and have a homogeneous social background and ideology (Janis 1972). The groupthink process is actually triggered by some form of an external crisis, event or failure which induces stress and feelings of low self efficacy on the group, challenging their existing decision making processes and sometimes creating moral dilemmas.

Janis (1972) postulated that the symptoms of groupthink are;


The illusion of invulnerability which creates over optimism of potential success and willingness to take high risks,

An inherent belief of their own morality where the consequences of their decisions are ignored,

Collective rationalization where warnings, signs and messages are rationalized according to existing group assumptions,

Negatively generalized and stereotyped views of external people and entities, where they view others as weak and foolish,

Self censorship and pressure on dissenters to carry the group line and not express any disagreements, including the suppression of outside views disagreeing with the group,

The illusion of unanimity in the belief that individual views conform to the majority view and silence means consent,

Social pressure on those who have doubts about group consensus, and

There are self appointed ‘mind-guards’ to protect the leader and group from information that may threaten any potential group cohesiveness.


Kowert (2002) also added that an overload of information may also contribute to causing the groupthink phenomena.

The result of this is a defective decision making process characterized by;


The decision had an incomplete consideration of possible alternative courses of action, 2. The problem will have clearly specified objectives, 3. There was a failure to properly analyze risks of the preferred choice, 4. There was a failure to reassess earlier discarded options, 5. There was a poor information search, 6. There was bias in the selection and processing of information, and 7. No contingencies were conceived.


The result of this process is a decision that has a very low probability of a successful outcome. A diagram of the groupthink process is shown in Figure 1.

The effect of groupthink is to strengthen group cohesion at the cost of increasing the influence of group bias and lowering of the quality of decisions. The groupthink hypothesis doesn’t say that all decisions will be poor ones, only that there is a high probability that they will be poor. The hypothesis just shows one way that groups can get trapped within their own insular thinking and decision making process. It shows where groups are vulnerable, especially cohesive and harmonious groups which can very easily create their own information filters and allow biases to influence them.

When a group of people such as managers share a similar background, then there is danger of the groupthink phenomena occurring. This may be the case in many businesses and particularly of the Chinese SMEs in South-East Asia. This situation can impair the ability of the company to grow and change into new trajectories. Diversity of thinking in strategy is needed in environments that change quickly because of changing consumer demand, technologies, and intense competition (Hambrick 1995).




Figure 1. The Groupthink Process[3].


The important lesson from the groupthink hypothesis is to understand the steps that can be taken to avoid this phenomenon. There are many methods that can assist groups avoid biases and selected patterning[4]. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the then US President John F. Kennedy took steps to avoid the groupthink phenomenon happening again. He used outside expertise and promoted the thorough questioning of different viewpoints, both within the closed group and outside the group in departmental sub-groups. John F. Kennedy was also deliberately absent at some meetings to allow a freer flow of opinions and prevent group bias towards his own thinking (Janis 1972 pp. 148-149).

Group problem solving can be very useful, particularly when a group is socially diverse and ‘
cognitive diversity’ can exist and operate. A diverse and functioning group can greatly enhance the problem solving because greater knowledge is available, more ideas can be generated with better evaluation, an improved ability to find errors and a wider diversity of experience. Under the right circumstances, group thinking has much superior capabilities than individual thinking (Klein 1999, P. 245).


References

Baron, R. S. (2005). So right it’s wrong: Groupthink and the Ubiquitous Nature of Polarized Group Decision Making, In: Zanna, M. P. (Ed.),
Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, San Diego, Elsevier Academic Press.

Hambrick, D.C. (1995). Fragmentation and the other problems CEOs have with their top management teams,
California Management Review, Vol. 37, pp. 110-127.

Janis, I.L. (1972). Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign Policy Decisions and Fiascos. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company.

Janis, I.L. (1982). Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Policy decisions and Fiascos. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company.

Klein, G. (1998).
Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, Cambridge, MA., The MIT Press.

Kowert, P. A. (2002). Groupthink or deadlock: When do leaders learn from their advisors? Albany, Blackwell Publishing.


REFERENCES:

[1] The ‘groupthink’ phenomenon only exists if the symptomatic conditions are present. ‘Groupthink’ decisions may not necessary result in a poor decision and failure. There are many other reasons besides groupthink that can lead to a poor decision and failure, for example; the lack of necessary information, poor judgment, lack of experience of the issues, luck, unexpected actions by competitors, government, and suppliers, etc., group competence, the heuristics used (discussed later in this chapter), and inadequate time for proper decision making.


[2] Janis (1972) first used the concept to appraise the Korean War stalemate and Vietnam War escalation. In 1982, Janis examined the Watergate cover-up. Kramer (1998) examined the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam decisions, with additional evidence casting some doubt on Janis’s analytical conclusions. Hart (1994) and Whyte (1998) enhanced the groupthink hypothesis. Smith (1984) analyzed the US rescue mission to Iran in 1979. Vaughan (1996) and Schwartz and Wald (2003) looked at the way NASA operated in relation to the Challenger and Columbia disasters.


[3] Modified from Janis (1982, P. 244)


[4] Janis (1982) suggested that a number of processes be included in group processes to eliminate the pitfalls of groupthink and develop more impartiality. These steps include; assigning each member of the group the role of a critical evaluator, higher people should abstain from expressing opinions when assigning tasks to the group, several independent groups should be set up to bring in more ideas and points of view, all alternatives should be examined, each member should discuss the issues with trusted people outside the group, invite outside experts to give their opinions, and a group member be assigned the role of ‘Devil’s advocate’.


 

 

 

 

PUBLICATIONS: 


      Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter

      Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization. - Murray Hunter

      What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter

      Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter

     
One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunter

     People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter

     How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

     How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter

     Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter

     The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter

     Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter

     How motivation really works - Murray Hunter

     The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter

    
Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity -
Murray Hunter

     Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter

     Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter

    
The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter

     Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter

     Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter

  
  Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities - Murray Hunter

     The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies - Murray Hunter

    
There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially - Murray Hunter

     Go Home, Occupy Movement!!-(The McFB– Was Ist Das?) - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

     Diplomatie préventive - Aucun siècle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

    
Democide Mass-Murder and the New World Order - Paul Adams


 





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BALKAN AREA
BALKAN AREA



prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
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